Welcome to IdeaJones.com

Articles, radio stories, ads, columns, corporate communications, novels or scripts – we’re never short of ideas. You can see some of our designs in our Redbubble shop. We also have a small shop at Etsy.com.

 

Joey Jones is the published author and editor of many newspaper and magazine articles, radio stories, advertisements and commentaries, and has ghostwritten everything from speeches to love letters. She is a past Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting semifinalist and Fade In: Screenwriting Awards quarterfinalist. She also gathers sound and conducts interviews as a freelance field producer in the Sacramento area, and her on-air performance as “The Dying Fish” can be heard in the Water Education commercial series.

Mark Jones makes a living producing radio shows (like Connections on Capital Public Radio’s Music Station). As Martin Jenkins, he’s heard weekday evenings on CapRadio’s four news stations, and Sunday mornings on 91.3FM KUOP Stockton/Modesto. Mark has also sung, acted and directed local theater and TV.

 

We’re about the story. Whether it’s the facts and figures of nonfiction, or the deeper truth of fiction, we want to find just the right words, sounds, and/or images to get it across.

We’re also about the process. “Do the work right, and on time.” Life’s too short to make things harder than they have to be.

 

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What In The Word: Truth(ish)

It is what it is, unless it isn’t.

Truth:  Noun, from the Middle English “treuth.” A verified or verifiable, objective fact.  (“It’s a truth that the sun appears to rise each morning”). Actuality, accuracy. (“We’ve weighed that container several times and the truth is it contains only one pound of flour”). Fundamental reality apart from personal opinion or experience (“I know it feels as though that blanket is wet, but in truth, it’s simply cold”).

Related to the word “true,” which can mean, among other things: Calibrated correctly (“Both of us checked the scale and it weighs true”), or possessing honor and integrity (“She’s a good woman and true”).

Not to be confused with “truism.” More about that in a moment…

We talk about truth a lot, and claim it to support this position or that, but does it exist?  It does, but it suffers from the same ailment that afflicts other words representing important things, such as “love.” If you ask someone if he loves you, whatever he answers, you’d better ask more questions. The two of you may be staring at the same word but not agreeing on its meaning. You both think you know what it means, but if you go off acting on the assumption that you agree on that meaning without discussing it, you’re probably going to find out that you don’t.

So it is with “truth.”  There are two main sorts of truth and often we don’t distinguish between them. Like the difference between a house cat and a tiger, the details are likely to matter to you at the most inconvenient time.

There is the obvious meaning, “verifiable, objective fact.” Gravity, for example. As any kid can tell you who has jumped off the roof while believing for all he’s worth, gravity doesn’t yield to opinion. Neither does the ground. “I shot an arrow in the air. It fell to earth, I know not where.” But you do know it fell, somewhere. Enough things have been propelled upwards in Earth’s atmosphere for us to feel comfortable saying that they come down, eventually. We’ve measured, observed, experimented, and gravity is a fact.

The other sort of truth is true in a cloudier sense. I meditate, and follow a recorded meditation. Near the beginning, it calls on me to accept whatever I’m feeling as my “inner truth of the moment.” Note the important modifiers — “inner” and “of the moment.” Interior truth is more flexible than objective truth. Where objective truth demands evidence and proof, interior truth is a reflection of your own experience. It is true, for you. Not necessarily for everyone else.

This doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. In a very real way, your opinion is your life. Your life is made up of your experiences, and those are colored by your point of view. Two people can go through the same events and have different experiences.

If you heard my Dad recount an event you’d both been through, you weren’t likely to recognize it, even if you knew which event he was talking about. Listening to him regale someone with his version of the event, I’d sit there thinking, “That isn’t at all what happened! I was there!”  Useless to argue with him. He made his life bearable by editing it as he went so it all ended up in some form that he liked. Nobody could convince him that wasn’t the way it happened. For him, that was the way it happened.

It was his “inner truth of the moment.” Since he believed the story, that was the experience he had, so for him, it was the truth. That nobody else’s experience was close to that didn’t make it less true for him.

For a less-extreme version… let’s say that you don’t believe in gold. Stick with me here. You absolutely do not believe that gold exists, so of course it has no value — it’s not real. So even if there are gold nuggets lying around that you could pick up, you won’t, because you won’t look for them, because for you, they aren’t real, and even if there’s something on the ground, it can’t be gold, because gold doesn’t exist. No matter how much gold objective fact can prove is around you, in your world, there is no gold.

Inner truth is valuable — figuring out what your inner truth is can tell you a lot about yourself. Working on your inner truth can improve your personal experience, and thus the quality of your life. Your experience improves according to your interpretation.

But inner truth is not objective truth. Where we stumble is in trying to substitute one for the other — by claiming our own subjective, inner truths for objective, verifiable facts.  When you’re trying to, say, build a bridge or design a government program, objective truth is the material to use and as much of it as we can get — randomized scientific testing, measurements, etc. Inner truth is useful for deciding if we want to do something or how important we think it is, but not for actually designing the nuts and bolts of the program.

Inner truth and objective truth are both useful, for different things, but not interchangeable, any more than tweezers and a hammer would be. They’re both tools — but they aren’t the same.

Oh, and about “truism…”  Note the “ism” on the end. In general, “ism” is a suffix that indicates action on a belief, or the formation of a set of principles. In this case, truism doesn’t refer to a dedication to the truth. It refers to things that appear true and may or may not actually be true, such as cliches — things that have been repeated so much they feel true. “A watched pot never boils,” for example. Well, if you’re patient enough to watch a pot of water left on high enough heat for a long enough period of time, you’ll see it boil. So this isn’t objective truth. It talks about the frustration of waiting and how things you look for seem to take longer to arrive. Inner truth.

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Writer’s Gold

That’s what I call it, “writer’s gold,” when you meet someone who enjoys your writing. Writing is such a solitary art. It’s ceremonial. Writers have their traditions, habits and rituals. For me, it’s turning the lights low, getting a cup of tea, putting on some soft, quiet music, turning off the ringer on my phone, and surrendering to the gravitational force of the story. It pulls me in and I’m there, with those characters, seeing, hearing, smelling and experiencing what they do.  Mark says that you could light fire to my chair when I’m writing and I wouldn’t notice — and he’s not far off.

But you walk forward, struggling to capture the vision in your mind and describe it, not knowing if anyone will understand what you’re trying to say, or enjoy what you’re creating. It goes out and (hopefully) people read it, but you don’t sit there with them while they do (and good thing — when a writer watches someone read his work, it’s uncomfortable for both parties. The writer is hyper-focused on the reader and trying not to ask “What? Where are you?” at each sigh, laugh, gasp or facial expression, which is annoying for the reader and I’ve been there, but trust me, it’s almost impossible to resist).

So for the most part, a writer works in solitude, builds his paper boat, launches it onto the pond, and retreats to build another boat. That’s why it’s so great when someone has read something you wrote and really enjoyed it. I talked with someone the other day who read the opening of “Based On A True Story: Really (Almost) True Story,” and told me she enjoyed it a lot, it made her laugh, she recognized moments in it as moments like ones she’s had… She went on to talk about the scene with the cake and said she could see it in her mind and feel what was going on, laughing as she recounted it back to me… She also said that she was frustrated because she couldn’t keep reading and wants to buy the book!

What I hope is that the book will give the reader a bit of an escape. Life can be stressful and when it is, books have been my refuge. This person has a stressful job, and the idea that for a moment she left it behind while laughing over our book makes me happy. Hearing her enjoyment gives me heart to build more paper boats and launch them.

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Of Love Beads and Novels

Hi! This month has been even busier than usual. Endings, beginnings, recuperation, it’s all been part of this month. There’s a tradition that says you should start the year as you mean to go on. Eat the foods you love, do the things you love, be with the people you love to show the new year what you want from it. If it’s true, this is going to be an interesting year.

Excerpt on Kindle Scout — free to read!

The beginning… our book, Based On A True Story: Really (Almost) True Story, was selected for Amazon’s Kindle Scout program! This means an excerpt is available on the Kindle Scout website, and you can vote for it to be published. It’s free to participate, and if the books you vote for are selected, you get a free online copy!  You do need to sign up for an Amazon account (free) if you don’t already have one, then you can log in and become a Kindle Scout, helping new authors and getting free book! The link is: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2ZS8M8QUBB0QC

The ending… the Love Bead Safe Harbor Pin Project is now officially over (for us — anyone can make pins and give them away). For the project, we made and gave away 2,000 hand-beaded Safe Harbor pins, promoting the idea that all human beings deserve to be treated with basic dignity and respect. In three cities, we talked to people from many countries, economic levels and cultural backgrounds about that idea. One thousand people stood up in a public place and confirmed their belief in that principle. We got to talk to so many great people, parents who used the pins to talk about respect with their kids, friends and families who chatted with us, often told us their personal stories.  In every distribution, at least one person would hug me. Some cried as they talked about the challenges they deal with.  There are stories on the website and on our Facebook page. Here are some from the Women’s March in Sacramento, CA:

* The little boy who, after his mom accepted a set of pins, said he wanted a set as well and asked about the meanings of the various color patterns. When he saw the green “environment supporter” pin with a gear on it (for science), he got excited and shouted, “That’s it! That’s my pin!”  Later, as his family passed me, he looked back and said, “Thank you for the pins!”

* The young women from a Feminism Club (I didn’t catch which school), who accepted pins with big smiles and talked about their Women’s Studies class.

* The parents from Arkansas who traveled to California to march with their daughter and her family.

* The young woman who accepted the last set of pins and received a set of three additional pins, including a set of crystal rainbow LGBTQI pins, who smiled like the rising sun and was still beaming when I looked back.

Other people stand out from the course of the project, the tourists from France who asked wonderful questions and really engaged with the project as art; the young man who told me about how his gay friends were getting harassed and threatened and felt alone – but he would tell them there were people they didn’t even know who wished them well and believed in them; the young woman with dreadlocks who hugged me and got teary, saying, “You don’t know how bad it is out there — I was having a really bad day. It’s nice to know there are people who care;” the group of skaters under the tree in Mission Dolores Park who got excited about the project and even told other people who joined us about it, including the young man who yelled, “Fuck yeah! I’m for respect for everyone!”  So many people, so many memories, and we’re so grateful to all of you. May you be blessed.

We also were in two art shows that ended this month. Now it’s time to regroup and create.

The recuperation has been from a bout of flu (yes, we got the shot, and it did seem to keep the flu from being as bad as it’s been before).

We’re spending time with friends, working on other books, and letting ourselves pause now and then to experience and enjoy the gratitude we feel towards everyone who’s voted for our book, or talked to us at a pin distribution. Thank you! May the new year to come treat us all as friends.

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Update: BOATS:RATS publication campaign is now live at Kindle Scout!

BASED ON A TRUE STORY: REALLY ALMOST TRUE STORY (BOATS:RATS)

by Joey Jones and Mark Jones
____________________________________

…has been submitted, accepted, and an excerpt is live for voting until January 28th. You can read the book’s opening at Amazon.com’s Kindle Scout, and then enjoy a sneak peek at the next few pages here on our site:

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Kindle Scout: Based On A True Story: Really (Almost) True Story (BOATS:RATS) — Coming Soon!

Merlin, aka “Mr. Darcy,” from Based On A True Story: Really (Almost) True Story

This is a painting I did of Merlin, aka, “Mr. Darcy” from our book, Based On A True Story: Really (Almost) True Story. We got the notification from Amazon’s Kindle Scout publishing program that they’re going to consider our novel! This means that you have a chance to read an excerpt, and if you like it, vote for Amazon Kindle to bring the novel out. If you vote for it and it’s selected, you get a free online advance copy of the book!

More info coming tomorrow, but we thought we’d share a secret with you… something that isn’t even on the page for the book’s campaign. Something the people who read early drafts of the book asked and we avoided answering directly…

“Did any of this really happen?”  The short answer is “yes.” The slightly longer answer is “quite a bit of it, actually.” We did fictionalize events and people. So that thing happened, for example, but different people were there.  A lot of times, things happen in life and they don’t link up to form a longer story. Or you don’t know why it happened or what it meant. In a book, by fictionalizing reality, you get to string things together that happened on different trips, and include anyone you wish was there. Some of the characters are true-to-life. Merlin (aka “Mr. Darcy”) was our beloved friend, a puppy found stray on the streets who became a Service Dog and saved my life. He was just like the Mr. Darcy of the BOATS books.

Some of the things in the book happened just that way. Pat, Mark’s mom and my friend, read the first draft of the book. She said it was odd reading it because she was present for many of the events in the book, so for her, it was part novel and part journal.

Ultimately, for the novel, it doesn’t matter which parts are 100% accurate accounts. When you read a book, if you enjoy it, it becomes a real world, with real people. It’s just that this one happens to be real in this world, too, in places. Like Mr. Darcy.

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